The Social Security earnings test is an important aspect to consider as one plans for federal retirement. Social Security states that those individuals who have earned at least 40 credits may be eligible for a benefit. However, before choosing to work after retirement, it is important to determine if a retiree may be subject to the Social Security Earnings Test.
Many federal employees retire before they reach their full retirement age for Social Security and begin employment in the private sector to supplement their retirement income. This could cause a reduction or loss of their Social Security benefit due to the earnings test.
According to the Social Security earnings test limit for 2021, if one draws Social Security before reaching full retirement age (FRA), this individual is subject to the annual earnings test limit of $18,960. For every $2 of earned income over the earnings test limit, Social Security will withhold $1 of the retiree’s benefit. In the year one reaches full retirement age, the annual limit increases to $50,520 and $1 will be withheld for every $3 over this higher limit. The earnings test vanishes completely once one reaches full retirement age.
It is important to remember that only earned income is considered for the limit. To determine how earned income is calculated for this limit, refer to the box below.
For more information on the earnings test and other helpful Social Security information, please watch our video below.